Olympus SP-565 Ultra Zoom review: Olympus SP-565 Ultra Zoom

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Compact and lightweight for a superzoom. Extensive scene modes and intuitive menus. Included camera pouch! Oh joy of joys!.

The Bad Distortion and fringing clearly apparent.

The Bottom Line The SP-565UZ is certainly the pick of the bunch from Olympus' superzoom range, but it's not without significant lens problems. It's an attractive package though, and shouldn't be discounted if you're looking for a compact alternative to a dSLR.

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Editor's note: The SP-565UZ has replaced the SP-560UZ and the SP-570UZ in the Olympus superzoom range.

Sharing the same feature set as the recently reviewed SP-570UZ, the 560UZ is a more compact and stylish version than the top-of-the-line model. There's a 2.5-inch LCD, rather than the 2.7-inch found on the 570, and the entire body is slimmer, lighter and more portable.

The SP-565 (top) is much more compact and attractive than the behemoth SP-570 (bottom).(Credit: Olympus/CNET.com.au)

The body is textured in the typical Olympus black plastic finish. Buttons and dials are all nicely coated in silver edges, and are responsive to press. The zoom rocker and the mode dial are both very nice indeed, providing precise feedback when used. Olympus are still touting their proprietary xD picture card format, though it may be slowly phased out given that most new models in their range are compatible with micro SD cards.

It's much more of a point and shoot than the 570, with 30 scene modes to choose from and a more streamlined look and feel. That said, there are still full manual controls on the 565, with all the standard exposure modes present on the mode dial.

One of the only problems we had with the design of the 565 is the lens cap. Feeling more like a plastic bottle cap than a lens protector, it sits over the outside of the unit. This is mostly a problem when turning the camera on — the lens cap doesn't pop off, or extend with the lens as with other superzoom models we've tested (such as the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS) — bad news for shooters who forget to take the lens cap off. The cap actually stops the lens from extending, which can't be good for the camera.

We also liked the included camera pouch — a little touch, but a significant one given that most manufacturers ignore this.

Olympus used to hold the record for the longest zoom available in a non-dSLR camera, at 20x. As more and more superzoom manufacturers equal this length, the 565 certainly can't compete on this level alone — but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many points of difference, feature-wise, between the Olympus and other superzooms.

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Where to Buy

Olympus SP-565 Ultra Zoom

Part Number: CNETOlympus SP-565 Ultra Zoom

Typical Price: $599.00

See manufacturer website for availability.